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Call Centre Operator Tax Return and Deduction Checklist

9 min read

Whether you’re focused on sales or service, as a call centre operator the one thing you know really well is people and how to help them. Well, now it’s time for us to help you! Our golden piece of advice? Get ahead of tax season and maximise your return by getting some expert help. It’s as simple as that. 

It’s surprising how many people leave money lying on the table at the end of each financial year by not filing a comprehensive tax return. There are lots of different deductions you can claim when you work in a call centre, and we’ve created a great checklist below to help you get started. But the best move is to enlist the help of a professional, such as one of our H&R Block consultants, because they can make sure you don’t miss a thing. 

To complete your return as the employee of a call centre, you’ll first need an income statement from your employer (previously called a “payment summary” or “group certificate”). This is a summary that outlines all of your salary, wages, allowances and bonuses for the financial year.

You won’t need to have a copy of this statement, as it should be lodged by your employer directly to the ATO. Once this has been lodged, we can download the information for you and then help you work out your deductions. 

What do I need to know about claiming deductions? 

As you know, you’re entitled to claim deductions on any money spent during the financial year on products or services that directly related to earning your income. But there are two things you need to remember: 

  1. First, you need to have spent the money yourself (it can’t have been reimbursed by your employer), and
  2. Secondly, you need to keep a record of the expense such as a receipt or invoice.

What deductions can I claim? 

There is a wide range of deductions you can claim as a call centre operator, such as: 

  • Car, taxi and ride-share expenses, including parking costs and tolls, if you travel between different jobs on the same day (for example from your day job at a call centre to a second job working in a cafe) or to different locations for your work, such as from head office to your company training centre
  • Any expenses connected to buying, repairing and cleaning any work clothing items that are either part of a compulsory uniform or distinctive to your company (such as a shirt with a company logo on it)
  • The cost of a first aid training course if you’re a designated first aid person and need to do first aid training to assist in emergency work situations, or any compulsory assessments or medical exams required by your employer such as an annual hearing test
  • Any meals you buy and eat when you work overtime, but only if you get an overtime meal allowance under an industrial law, award or enterprise agreement and it's included in your assessable income
  • Self education costs for attending any courses, training or seminars specifically related to your current line of work, such as a an advanced certificate in Customer Relations or a course learning to better utilise your employer’s record keeping software
  • The cost of buying stationary such as notepads, diaries and pens needed for your work
  • Travel expenses such as accommodation and meals if you’re travelling for work and need to stay away from home overnight (for example, if you’re attending a multi-day training course or team meetings in another city) and pay these expenses yourself
  • Phone and internet expenses for any work-related usage on your personal phone or device, provided they are not already covered by your employer
  • Working from home office or workshop expenses such as heating or cooling, and repairs to equipment

What can’t I claim? 

There are several key expenses you can’t claim, including: 

  • Any regular clothing worn to your workplace that could also be worn outside of work (such as jeans or a white shirt) even if you only wear it for work and bought it specifically to wear to work
  • The cost of purchasing prescription glasses or contact lenses, unless they’re anti-glare glasses or anti-glare contact lenses and you wear them when looking at your computer monitor to reduce the risk of illness or injury
  • The cost of any massages or other alternative therapies
  • The cost of any meals or snacks consumed during the course of a normal work day, even if you are given an allowance by your employer to cover the meal expense
  • Any grooming costs, including hairdressing services and buying items of make up, even if it’s a requirement of your job to be well presented
  • Any costs incurred when travelling between your home and your workplace, even if you live a long distance away

What records do I need to keep? 

Good question. You really need to stay on top of your receipts and have a comprehensive set of receipts if you want to get a good tax refund. It’s a smart idea to create an easy and reliable system to help you keep on top of this throughout the year. 

Remember, you don’t need to keep physical receipts, and it’s acceptable to keep a digital copy (such as a photo of a receipt or an email receipt) provided it is possible to read: 

  • The name of the supplier
  • Amount of the expense
  • Nature of the goods or services
  • Date the expense was paid
  • Date of the document 

You also don’t need to keep receipts for expenses under $10 (as long as these don’t cumulatively come to more than $200). 

What happens if I make a mistake in my tax return? 

Completing a tax return can be a stressful process for some people, and it’s possible you might make a mistake. Our best advice is to deal with it as soon as possible. It’s important to be careful when you’re putting together the information and supporting documentation when filing your tax return, and only claim deductions that are genuine to avoid penalties and possibly even prosecution from the ATO. 

We know that it’s easy to make an innocent mistakes sometimes, and if you realise you’ve submitted incorrect or unsubstantiated claims with a return you’ve lodged yourself, then you should contact H&R Block immediately and we will assist you in making the necessary amendments.

Still have some questions about lodging your tax return? Talk to H&R Block. Our experienced tax consultants will be able to help. Call 13 23 25 for details or find your nearest office and book an appointment online.

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